Committing to Change

When I signed up to run my first marathon (which I’m planning to do this March), there was one registration question I found odd. It asked about my relationship with running and whether I considered myself a casual or committed runner.

“I’m signing up for a marathon,” I thought. “This is my demonstration of commitment. What more do you want from me?”

Despite my initial reaction, I selected casual on the form. And in the months that followed, I found out what they meant by commitment. Starting with the week I was set to begin my training when it rained every day in Atlanta.

Commitment is scrutinizing weather radar maps hoping you can sneak in a run between showers.

There was the time I spent with my family over the holidays. One of my favorite things to do when I’m home is walk with my mom in Spring Grove Cemetery. But I needed to get my runs in while I was there so instead we’d go to the cemetery together and she would walk while I ran.

Commitment is asking the people in your life to give you the space and support you need to accomplish your goals.

This past week traveling to Baltimore I needed to get a long run in, and I was excited for it going into the trip because I love running by water (and don’t get to do a lot of that in Atlanta). But then the weather in Baltimore turned out to be cold and dreary.

Commitment is gearing up and getting out there anyway.

When I did make it out for a run, there was a lot of stopping and starting because of traffic lights and looking at my map to see where I was going and needing to find a bathroom and a disjointed route that followed the rectangular piers along the shoreline. Eventually I had to cut the run way short to make it back to my hotel in time for dinner.

Commitment is trying again in the face of failure.

When I made it out again on a cold Saturday morning in Baltimore, I was rewarded with less traffic, clearer paths, and better views. Looking out over the harbor from Federal Hill Park was a mountaintop moment in the figurative sense (and a hilltop moment in the literal sense). Beautiful views and a sense of connection to a city that’s not mine—this is why I run.

Commitment is slogging through the tough moments, spending a lot of time in neutral, and relishing those mountaintop moments when you get what you came for.

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